FVSU gets $1M grant to restore hall

Aug. 23, 2006 – A million dollars in federal and state grants will jump-start restoration of the oldest building on Fort Valley State University’s campus this fall.

A $763,769 grant was awarded this month by the National Park Service to spur plans to restore Huntington Hall, which has been closed for 17 years.

The state Board of Regents, which oversees the University System of Georgia, contributed an additional $327,000, bringing funding for the first phase to $1.09 million.

“Our staff already is working to finalize a request for additional National Park Service funds to complete the full restoration and reopen this treasure for the university and our community,” Fort Valley State’s president, Larry E. Rivers, said in a news release issued Tuesday.

After stabilizing the ceiling, walls and roof to safe conditions and restoring the exterior of the three-story building, the university hopes to rebuild the interior of the building in a second phase, said Melody Carter, the university’s interim vice president for external affairs.

Administrators haven’t decided what the building will be used for yet, but Rivers said in the release: “Huntington Hall has played a central role in campus life since 1907. No doubt this historic structure’s future role once again will place it center stage in Fort Valley State University activities.”

Huntington Hall opened as the school’s first dormitory for women students and was used later as an administrative building with classrooms.

“It was really the heart and life blood of the institution,” Carter said.

The first phase of restoration is expected to be finished in January 2008.

During the process, the architectural style will be maintained on the structure, that is listed in the Fort Valley State College Historic District by the National Register of Historic Places.